Nine Months

9 MonthsWeight: 18.4 pounds
Length: 27.8 inches
Likes: Ripping apart magazines if he gets his hands on them, making his way to the hardwood floor to make louder banging noises.
Dislikes: Having things that aren’t safe to play with taken away, such as small pieces of paper he ripped out of magazines. He also makes a face like he does not like the first bite of any food he is having, no matter what it is.
Clothing Size: 6-9 month
Diaper Size: 3
Favorite Toy(s): Not toy things (such as empty cereal boxes)
Skills: Inch-worm crawling
Eating: He likes chewing on big chunks of food, especially watermelon.
Sleeping: Through the night (most of the time)! He still takes cat naps, or 3-4 short naps in a day.
Firsts: Rayna’s Week, trip to a state park, time in the church nursery, night away from Mommy, flight.
Mommy’s Highlight: Being reunited after time away!
Daddy’s Highlight: Taking him to Chicago to meet the Salesforce Ohana.

Parenting After Loss Thought of the Month:
Nick and I are the kind of parents who bring our baby most places – restaurants, weddings, the racetrack, going away happy hours for coworkers, St. Patrick’s Day parades, and more. We don’t tend to stay out super late, so it works with LT’s bedtime. Because he comes with us so often, we can count on our hands how many times we’ve needed a babysitter in 9 months.

The first time was so we could attend a choir performance when LT was two months old; my alma mater had a tour stop only a few miles from our house, and I wanted to go. I know how music people usually feel about children and the noises they might make at performances, so we had a person from our church watch him for those few hours. I kept my cell phone in my hand (on silent, of course), and everything was fine.

My aunt has also watched him a few times when I’ve worked a weekend or needed to attend something without LT. And, of course, he goes to daycare three days a week.

All kinds of childcare are becoming a little more heart wrenching now as LT enters the separation anxiety stage (or, what I call stranger danger). According to Baby Center, “separation anxiety is a normal stage of emotional development that starts when babies begin to understand that things and people exist even when they’re not present.” Because of this, LT is usually looking around for the grownups he knows best, and is starting to fuss a little when we drop him off at daycare.

Right as he entered this stage, I left him for the first time and went on a trip to Colombia with my church for 10 days. I hadn’t spent a single night away from him up until this point, but I felt like I was supposed to go on this trip, and needed to go on this trip. However, I had my own version of separation anxiety.

Several of my worries were about feeding:

I was nervous I didn’t have enough breastmilk in the freezer to last him 10 days without me. I had ample supply. I did the math for 30 ounces a day, and he really doesn’t drink 30 ounces in 24 hours – particularly now that he also enjoys eating solids. However, to assuage my fears, I also borrowed 200 ounces from my sister.
I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to pump enough while I was away to have a supply upon my return. My hope is to breastfeed, or at least provide breast milk, until LT is at least one year. I pumped 5-8 times every day; waking up in the middle of the night sometimes to get enough pumping sessions in each day.
I pumped around 20 ounces every day; in total I pumped (and dumped) 231.25 ounces over ten full days and two travel days. It’s a bummer to dump that much, but I didn’t want to worry about sterilization, keeping milk cold, or going through customs with breastmilk, which would have added unnecessary stress to the trip.
I was nervous LT wouldn’t want to nurse when I returned, since bottles dispense milk more quickly than breastfeeding. He nursed as soon as we were home from the airport.

I had other concerns, too:

I was nervous something happen to Nick, LT, or myself while I was away. It didn’t. Not even an ear infection.
I was nervous he would learn to crawl and I wouldn’t be there. He did. He was so close for so long that I knew it was a strong possibility. It is a big adjustment to come home to a crawler!
I was nervous LT would forget me. I prepped a lot of things before I left: I recorded a few books for him, I recorded our bedtime blessing song, and I stockpiled my nursing tanks after I wore them so he’d have my scent with him. Nick used all of these things while I was away.
Even so, LT was pretty skeptical of me at the airport and made sure Daddy was never too far away. But, by the end of the day I reestablished myself as his favorite parent!

I was not concerned about Nick being home with him on his own and the everyday parenting duties, as he is a great parent. He also had a lot of support from his parents, my local family, and our many friends if needed. All of my concerns and preparation were about me. My worries. I knew in my heart LT would be okay and it would take more than ten days for him to forget about his mother, but I still cried leaving him in the airport (and again when our group was delayed getting home). I was having separation anxiety.

Sometimes it feels these parenting after loss thoughts are simply parenting thoughts as I’m sure most parents, particularly mothers, struggle leaving their child for the first time. Yet, I know part of why I don’t like leaving LT behind very often is because I don’t have my other children with me. Rayna left me. LO left me. In both cases, another person carried them away and I didn’t get to see them or hold them again. I miss Rayna and LO terribly. Being away from LT amplifies their absence.

Yet, like a child, I will grow with experience. I will continue to take LT to daycare, to have the occasional babysitter, and perhaps Nick and I will even have a weekend away for our anniversary. LT and I will together learn to trust object permanence.

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